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Naturally, I started my Dollywood vacation experience in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. with a tour of the famous Dollywood theme park. Celebrating its 25th anniversary his year, Dollywood continues to go above and beyond your typical roller coaster fest with a wide variety of attractions for all ages.


A stroll through an amusement park could have been absolute torture with a hot June sun beating down, but since the park’s design integrates the surrounding mountains and trees into the attractions, the walk is a shaded one.

In fact, the park’s replicated turn-of-the-century buildings give the impression you are walking through an old mountain town.


The town comes complete with a blacksmith, glass blower, grist mill and wagon maker. All the demonstrators at the park happily engaged visitors in conversation, including the wagon maker who explained his process before jokingly sending us to the blacksmith to make a noise complaint against him.


I also watched one of the many stellar shows playing at Dollywood called Sha-Kon-A-Hey! Land of Blue Smoke. Just started in May 2009, the show features songs written by Dolly Parton while telling the history of the Smoky Mountains. After watching the show’s simulated blue smoke fill up the stage at the show, I saw the real mist move along the mountaintops from my Dollywoods Vacations cabin. My view of the sunset mountain scenery reminded me that the natural spectacle always beats the manmade special effects.

My Dollywood Vacations cabin’s sunset view

The Dollywood show Sha-Kon-A-Hey!

Wagon making demonstration in Dollywood